Using Google Lighthouse / PageSpeed Insights to benchmark your sites.
The Google Lighthouse PageSpeed insights tool can help you speed up your sites. Page speed is a critical ranking factor for Google. A page or site that loads slowly will be penalized. You can use some simple tools to get a benchmark of your site’s performance.
Google places a lot of importance on the speed of your website when considering ranking. The first step in improving page speed it so gather data as to the current speed of the site.
You should probably gather data points from different times of the day so you have decent metrics.
One tool to do this is PageSpeed Insights. Simply go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and enter the URL of your home page (including https:// or http://) If you are using the latter, you are already incurring a penalty as Google penalizes non https sites.
It will take a couple of minutes to analyze your site. You will then see a number from 1 to 100. The higher the better. Note that there are separate calculations for desktop and mobile response.
In this case, 51 means that it can use a lot of optimization.
Once you get a good idea of the page speed rankings, then it is time to start optimizing the site.
The first section shows a color coded synopsis of your site. Keep in mind that your site may seem a lot faster to you than it will to your users. Your browser and machine have most likely cached the content.
The next section shows opportunities for improvement. Unfortunately the first section “Reduce Server Response Time” is a little vague as to how to improve this metric. “Upgrade your server” might not be a viable option for most people.
However, “Eliminate render-blocking resources” is something that you can probably address. There are a number of WordPress plugins that can help.
“Serve images in next-gen formats” is another step that you can take. In this example, we would shave off a little over one second of load time. The site shown in this example is not image intensive so the next-gen format optimization would not have a very dramatic effect. However, when you are trying to build traffic, every little bit will help.
SUMMARY – Speeding up the load times of a site is critical to your user experience and search engine standing. The first step is to benchmark your site so you have a baseline for it’s performance.
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